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Tropical Storm Fred moves over Alabama after drenching Florida Panhandle

Tropical Storm Fred moves over Alabama after drenching Florida Panhandle
Tropical Storm Fred was moving into southeastern Alabama after dousing the Florida Panhandle on Monday. Photo courtesy NOAA

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Fred weakened to a tropical depression over southeastern Alabama on Tuesday morning, while bringing heavy rain and a threat of flooding inland across eastern portions of the state and into western Georgia.

In its 4 a.m. CDT update, the National Hurricane Center said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was located 15 miles south-southwest of Columbus, Ga. It was moving north-northeast at 14 mph.

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On Monday, Fred produced heavy rainfall and a dangerous storm surge along the coast of the western Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area .

Last week, it brought tropical storm conditions to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before weakening to a tropical depression after passing over the island of Hispaniola.

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It regained tropical storm strength Sunday.

The NHC forecast 4-8 inches of rain in southeast Alabama through western and northern Georgia and the western Carolinas as the storm continues to move through the country.

"On the forecast track, the center of Fred will move across western and northern Georgia today, across the southern Appalachian Mountains tonight and into the central Appalachians by early Wednesday," the NHC said.

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Further east in the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Grace formed early Saturday and is also forecast to move toward the Gulf Coast. It is expected to arrive there Wednesday or Thursday. Also in the Atlantic basin is Tropical Depression Eight, which is also forecast to become a tropical storm in the coming days. For the moment, it is expected to remain at sea.

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Fred follows five other named storms in the Atlantic basin so far this year -- Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny and Elsa. Of those five, Elsa was the only one to gain hurricane strength.

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